(Photo taken in Paris, France in 2017)

“Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. Suddenly, you know you are alive.” This quote (the author is unknown or I just didn’t make good research) describes the best of my feelings about Malmö. One of the coolest things I love about this city is a windy weather. By the way, I haven’t introduced myself yet, have I?

Hi, folks over there ^-^ My name is Ainagul.  Here are some must-know facts about me:

  • I am a civil activist. I have been engaged in activism for more than 5 years. I started my activism journey in 2014 within the youth-led organization Noviy Ritm. There I have grown personally and professionally. Still growing, I would say since there is still a lot to give to other generations of the organization, and while giving someone knowledge, sharing experience, you definitely learn a lot about activism, challenges and the ways to overcome them.
  • I am a radical feminist.  Feminism is really important for me because as a woman, I face many challenges in a society where my rights as a woman have not been respected. Just because I am a woman I receive negative comments from society members who keep following traditional norms that are very discriminatory towards me and my sisters. I position myself as a radical feminist because I want to make reforms in people’s mindset and say “Come on, guys, wake up! Now it is the 21st century. It doesn’t make any sense to discriminate someone based on her/his sex”. 
  • I come from Kyrgyzstan, a country situated in Central Asia (post-Soviet Union country). I was born and raised in the city of Osh – the second large city based in the Southern part of the country.  My city is well known for its diverse community, kind people, delicious food, green tea, and the mountain right in the city center.
  • I am the youngest in my family.  If I act childish sometimes, well, this might be a solid explanation. My family is my everything. I have such a feminist family. They always support me, they give me hope that I can achieve what I am striving for. Obviously, I will be missing them a lot, this is the only reason for homesickness, I think.  

So basically, why am I here?

I am here in Malmö to take my first European Volunteer Service experience with Centralasiengrupperna. One of the main reasons why I applied for this program is to discover myself from a different angle both personally and professionally. I want to raise my self-awareness by working on my weaknesses, turning them into my strength that would help me fulfill my life goals. I am not going to open up about my goals right away but one thing to know is that my goals are connected to making positive changes in the society so that people could live in harmony. And I believe that there are plenty of things I can learn from Centralasiengrupperna’s staff and the organization itself and at the same time there is a lot I could also contribute to the development of it.

Your brain might have been overwhelmed. I know, I talk a lot (sometimes). Anyway, if you feel like knowing more about my country or Central Asia in general and want to be just friends with me, let me know. I will be happy to talk to you while having coffee in cozy Malmö.

Best regards,

Ainagul